The pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday that Western intelligence had warned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri of an assassination plot before he resigned his post on Saturday.
The newspaper quotes Lebanese sources close to Hariri that after learning of an assassination being prepared against him, he left for Saudi Arabia, from where he made his resignation announcement and harshly criticized Iran and Hezbollah for fomenting conflict in the region.
Hariri’s late father and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in 2005 by a massive car bomb in Beirut. A U.N. investigative body found evidence of Hezbollah involvement in the plot.
Asharq Al-Awsat quotes the same sources as saying that Hariri would not have resigned if he felt he could preserve stability in his country. As he was making more concessions, presumably to Iranian interests, he became convinced that staying on would do more harm than good.
On Saturday, Saudi-owned television channel al-Arabiya al-Hadath, part of the same media group as Asharq al-Awsat, reported that an assassination plot against Hariri had been foiled in Beirut days earlier, citing an unnamed source.